Dark Rooms: Elizabeth I and John Dudley

Writing Challenge: February 23, 3018

Prompt: Write a story that uses the phrase “his voice brought back memories of dark rooms and broken bones.”

Queen Elizabeth Recognizes John Dudley

She recognized his voice. Soft and smooth but also husky and thick: a clear grumble like rocks tumbling down a hill. That was the voice that brought hope and comfort in that dark place. That was the voice that offered companionship and warmth within the cold, stone walls. His voice brought back memories of dark rooms and broken bones. His voice brought back memories of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. His voice brought back memories of abuse, neglect, and danger- but it also brought back memories of sunny windows and shared meals. It also brought back memories of comfort, trust, and determination. It also brought back memories of love, attention, and safety. She recognized his voice- the voice she first heard within the prison walls that held them both. Today, she heard his voice as a courtier greeting his queen.



Writing Challenge: February 22, 2018

Prompt: What is your zodiac sign? Does it fit your personality?

Sagittarius or Ophiuchus- that is the question for those of us born in Mid-December. I like to say that I have two Star-Signs- marking myself and those sharing my birth month as “special” in our odd circumstance.

According to astrology I should be adventurous, energetic, and optimistic as a Sagittarius. As an Ophiuchus I am expected to be passionate, curious, hungry for knowledge, and have an explosive temper. As with all star signs, these generic traits apply to many people; a way for astrologists to hedge their bets when telling personalities and fortunes through the stars.

I do enjoy learning and traveling. I can be quite curious and energetic. I would call myself a “realist” before an “optimist”, and would say that my temper is leans more toward anxious and obnoxious rather than “passionate” and “explosive”, but all and all- I could say that I share traits with these prescribed personality descriptors as much as the next person prescribes to their zodiac.


Writing Challenge: Feb 21, 2018

Prompt: how important do you think education is?

My Grandpa has a saying: “The root of all evil isn’t money; it’s intolerance”. I am inclined to believe him, for it is intolerance that breeds fear, apathy, and hatred, but I take Grandpa’s philosophy further. The root of all evil is intolerance, but intolerance is bred from ignorance. Whether a lack of understanding stems from willfulness, or simply miscommunication- it is in ignorance that we hate and fear what we do not or will not understand. It is because of ignorance that I find education to be so important.

It is through education that we learn more about our world and ourselves. It is through education that we have a chance to ask questions, dig deeper, and empathize. It is through education that we can reach beyond our own small circles into a global world. It is through education that we learn both how similar and how unique humanity is.

Why the Grass is Green

Writing Challenge: February 20, 2018

Prompt: Write a myth explaining why the grass is green

When Earth was young, and life was still forming everything was brown and blue: everything wet was blue and everything dry was brown. The world was beautiful in its own simple way- but the Sun and Moon felt that something was missing. While looking at the animals they had created, full of life and color, they finally understood. The Earth looked so sad with such a bland palate for the rich variety of animals that roamed upon it. Fruits and flowers exploded with every color of the rainbow. “How vibrant!” The Sun and Moon exclaimed. Desert sands and wheat fields were painted gold: “How glorious” they crowed. Trees in large forests and jungles around the globe would vary in shades and shapes across the world: “how exciting! The declared. The one landscape they couldn’t decide upon was the grassy meadows. What color do we paint these peaceful lands? What color could convey the tranquility of such patrol bliss? “Green!” They said “Just the thing. How beautiful fat white cows look in emerald fields. How bright will yellow buttercups pop among peridot plains? How radiant will dew glisten on the cheerful blades- and so it was that the Sun and the Moon painted the grasslands of the world in their favorite color: green.

Food for Thought: daily meals of the rushed college student

Writing Challenge: February 19, 2018

Prompt: Write something inspired by what you ate today

It’s a rushed morning- an oatmeal breakfast-bar morning. My coffee machine, prepped the night before, brews while I brush my teeth. My pre-packed lunch and dinner sit in the fridge, ready to be grabbed and shoved into a bag. For lunch, humus with pita chips and vegetables. For dinner cheese tortellini with winter squash, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. I threw some fruit snacks and an apple in my backpack for mid-day, ready to crash, snacks. I will be out of the house all day today: from 9:00am to 1:15am. I have must either bring all the food I will consume throughout the day with me or buy junk from the fast food joints that litter the valley. Trying to be healthy while lacking both time and money is a true challenge for the working college student.

Sun and Moon Rise and Set

Writing Challenge: February 18, 2018

Prompt: Write a myth that explains why the sun rises and sets.

Once there was only the Sun and Moon in the great black sky. In their loneliness, they created the rest of the heavens. Their love of living things was so great that the universe around them flourished and the sky was becoming too crowded. As more stars and planets filled the sky The Sun and Moon began to feel stifled. They’re brightness was fading. They loved the Stars and the planets they created- but how could they breathe with so much around them? They couldn’t bring themselves to destroy the worlds that they had so lovingly created- and so rather than pushing the planets and stars from the sky the Sun and Moon decided that they could no loner shine together. They would take turn in the sky above the worlds they created. During the day the sun shone bright- so bright the stars were rendered invisible. At night the Moon would shine- helping the stars to emit their own brilliant glow. At Dawn and Dusk the Sun and Moon would tenderly embrace- shining together. For their great love they would part at day and night: sacrificing their time together so that the other could shine.

Dreaming of Losing You

Last night, I dreamed that you died and that I had been texting and talking to your ghost for weeks; the weeks that you have been away. When I realized you were dead I was so heartbroken because we had no future together if you were gone. I cried because, just like, Ally who passed away several years ago, I could only talk to you in my dreams. As the gravity of my loneliness hit me, I woke up.

I was panicked for several minutes- crying and panting. I repeated “it’s just a dream” about 100 times until I calmed down. Wednesday is my 1 year anniversary with you. We have known each other for nearly a decade and have been through so much together. Dreaming of losing you made me realize just how much you mean to me.

Scariest Thing of All

Writing Challenge: Feb 16, 2018

Prompt: Write a story that begins “The human mind is truly the scariest thing of all.”

“The Human mind is truly the scariest thing of all” she whispered to me as she whipped the blood off the face of yet another body found in the alley behind a diner and a laundromat.

“Jason Donovan- 34, local resident.” I read off the license found in his wallet. All cards and cash were gone. “There’s a photo. Wife and kids. Contact the family”

Monsters, Devils, Demons- truly terrifying creatures of the night. We fear the darkness in which they stalk. We don’t trust the shadows where we cannot see. Do we forget that these creatures spring from the human mind? Do we forget that the evils accused of them were imagined and committed by mankind. We take a perverse comfort in believing that only something twisted, something grotesque could be so terrifyingly scary. And we aren’t wrong. The human mind is truly the scariest thing of all.

5 Ways to Win My Heart

Writing Challenge: February 14, 2018

Prompt: List 5 ways to win your heart


1- Make me smile: I’m often a stressed out, depressed, anxious mess. Having someone who can help me calm down and smile is essential to my life.

2- Give me space: I am an ambivert. I will love you, and love to be around you, but I will also need “me-time” to keep functioning. Let me have it, and I’ll love you forever.

3- Be Fun: This is different for everyone, but for me this means be willing to have a good time whether we are going out to a party, or staying at home on the couch. Fun is what an extension of your attitude.

4- Be adventurous: I like to travel, I like to try new things, and I like to explore. I want to be with someone who do things with me. Whether you are the instigator or the tag-along, I just need someone who will encourage me to learn, grow, and experience things.

5- Make me feel like me: I need someone I can be myself around. If I feel like I’m putting up and act or “proving” something, than a relationship won’t work. I need someone who will support me in all my glorious mess, call me out on my bullshit, but still make me feel like myself. It’s a hard job, but It’s one I promise to perform in return.

Siren of the Lake

Writing Challenge: February 12, 2018

Prompt: Write something inspired by a dream

Siren of the Lake part 1:

When her father refused the match, she and her lover planned to run away. She was rich and he was poor- but she loved him so much. She took the bridal clothes she and her mother had been weaving, her jewelry, and a purse of coins from her father. “one day” she vowed, she and her husband would pay them back. For now, they needed something to get started.

She met her lover in the dark of night. He waited by the shores of the lake in a boat. Across the water they would start a new life together. Giddy with both excitement and guilt, she let her hand skim the water as her love rowed. Halfway across the water, he stopped. He lunged across the small boat toward her and threw her over the edge. She screamed, but there was no one around to hear her, except for him. She struggled to stay above the waves, she desperately reached for the boat, but he pulled her fingers from the rough wood. Water filled her mouth, her nose, her throat. She slipped under the dark water. He rowed away, admiring how her jewels glittered in the moon light.

She drifted to the bottom of the lake- darkness closing in. Her last fleeting thought: “’tis better to drown than to marry a man such as he.” But she didn’t drown. The water, impregnated with magic from an ancient time, took pity on the girl. Instead of death the waters granted her a new life as a siren- a spirit of the lake.

Part 2:

A newly engaged maiden sits by the water thinking of her beloved. She gently trails her fingers through the water as she sings. Ripples begin to form in the middle of the lake. Curious, the maiden looks up. The ripples stop. All is quiet for a moment. Suddenly, a hand grabs the young maiden’s wrist and she is pulled into the water where she drowns. The smiles benevolently at the floating body of the young girl. She tenderly moves a wet tendril of hair from the maiden’s still face. “I have saved you from a fate far worse than death”. She tells the dead girl- as she has told hundreds of girls over the years. The lake has a reputation as being haunted by a vengeful siren. A siren who kills engaged and married women to save then from their husbands. There have been many women who willingly waded into the waters to escape their matrimonial fate. Those who die willingly became the siren’s handmaidens. Those who were murdered passed peacefully onward. Yes, she was proud of her work- self-satisfied with her humanity. She lovingly caressed her new daughter’s face a knight stumbled to the water’s edge. Seeing his love floating in the water he threw himself down in the shallows and screamed his pain and misery. Still clad in full armor he plunged himself into the water toward the siren and his love- “Kill me” he begged the siren, waist deep in the water. “Without her, I have no reason to live.” The siren watched dumbfounded as he reached his love. Holding her to his plated chest he cried, then dove under the water to join her. Weighed down by his heavy armor and his broken heart he slipped beneath the water, never to surface again.

3- My sister’s wedding was approaching. We celebrated by the old pond. We were told it was once a large grand lake, now years had shrunken it to this peaceful, secluded borders. After a picnic and lunch we doze with our feet dipped in the cool water. My sisters drifted off too sleep. My heavy eyes began to close when I saw a ripple in the water. My eyes snapped opened and I watched as the Siren emerged. I had heard the myths of the waters and rushed to wake my slumbering sisters. The Siren stopped me, assuring me that she no-longer killed engaged woman- instead she had become a guardian of the waters, women, and pure love. She didn’t come to drown my sister under the cool waters, but to congratulate her happiness.